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Sandra Petersson

Alberta Law Reform Institute , Edmonton

Call: 1992

Statement

I have attended public meetings of the Benchers for the past five years and seen the range of issues that challenge our profession and our ability to serve the public. I would like the opportunity to serve as an elected Bencher and to contribute my skills to the Law Society’s ongoing work as an innovative and responsive regulator.

I have extensive experience in policy development and consensus building. I am a strategic and innovative thinker. I am a reflective listener who brings a balanced perspective. With graduate training in both project management and professional coaching, I understand the greater value that comes from a diverse group of people working to solve complex problems. I also have the practical skills that come with an MBA and the Institute of Corporate Directors Not for Profit programme.

My professional service includes:

  • Legal Education Society of Alberta, Board of Directors (2014-20)
  • Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch Council (2012-19)
  • CBA Alberta Governance Review Task Force (2017-18)
  • Federation of Law Reform Agencies of Canada, President (2014-17)
  • Uniform Law Conference of Canada, Alberta delegate (2007-present)
  • Uniform Interpretation Act Working Committee (2011-14)
  • Uniform Wills Act Working Committee (2010-13)

I am an active mentor to many younger lawyers. A core part of my professional service is to see lawyers find their niche and determine how they will advance our profession. I embrace Brene Brown’s definition that a leader is “anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes and has the courage to develop that potential.” I am a “Dare to Lead” trained leader.

In working with younger lawyers, I have followed the Law Society reports from 1991, 2004, 2014 and 2019 which document the additional challenges too often faced by women and racialized lawyers – challenges that force far too many young lawyers to leave our profession. Issues such as lawyer competence, wellness and retention are complex, interrelated and impact access to justice.

For the past 19 years, I have worked at the Alberta Law Reform Institute – first as legal counsel, then research manager and now executive director. I am passionate about developing policy solutions so that the law keeps pace with societal change. Before moving to law reform, I was a tenured academic in New Zealand where I taught statutory interpretation, legislative drafting, torts, and jurisprudence. Since I returned to Canada, I have facilitated professional law reform training for lawyers across Canada and delivered dedicated seminars to lawyers from South Sudan and Trinidad and Tobago.

I am a working mother of one, founder of the Happy Lawyers Book Club and the author who researched Ruby Clements and the history of the first women lawyers in Alberta. I knit for relaxation, reflection and to justify my hobby of buying beautiful yarn.

I urge you to vote for your preferred candidates. Only 40 per cent of eligible active members voted in 2017. Make your voice heard and elect lawyers you think will contribute to our governing body and regulator.